"... [Alexander, the son of Macon Leary's girlfriend] slipped his hand into Macon's. Those cool little fingers were so distinct, so particular, so full of character. Macon tightened his grip and felt a pleasant kind of sorrow sweeping through him. Oh, his life had regained all its old perils. He was forced to worry once again about nuclear war and the future of the planet. He often had the same secret, guilty thought that had come to him after [his late son] Ethan was born: From this time on I can never be completely happy. Not that he was before, of course." (p. 257-8)

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